The Children Are Our Future

family-1663236_960_720The number of children in Orkney on the Child Protection register continues to fall from 5.4 per 1,000 in 2007 to 0.9 per 1,000 in 2017. The Orkney rate compares with a Scottish average of 2.9 per 1,000 children. The highest rate is in Moray at 4.8 per 1,000. Scotland’s rate is lower than the rest of the UK. The figures were published in Children’s Social Work Statistics.

Across Scotland an increasing number of children are being looked after away from home usually with foster carers. There is currently a campaign in Orkney to encourage more people to become foster carers. Read about it here: Could you be a foster carer?

Scott Hunter, Chief Social Worker for Orkney Health and Care, said:

Despite Orkney’s reputation as the best place to raise children in the UK, challenges and crisis can affect families anywhere – and there are children in Orkney who need the assistance of our social work , fostering and adoption and child protection services.

“We will be looking at the report in closer detail over coming weeks, but meantime would urge anyone with concerns about a child or an interest in becoming involved in fostering to get in contact with us.”


Local authorities are responsible for providing care and support for children and young people who are ‘looked after.’ There are many reasons why some children and young people will require this for part or much of their life: “ neglect, abuse, complex disabilities which require specialist care, or involvement in the youth justice system.“(Children and Social Work Statistics)

Just as there are many types of reasons for providing care there are also many different types of care and support available.

There are several types of care setting in which looked after children or young people could be looked after, including at home (where a child is subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order and continues to live in their  Children looked after normal place of residence), foster care, residential unit or school, a secure unit, with prospective adopters, or in kinship care (where they are placed with friends or relatives).”

Foster care continues to be the most common option for looked after children and young people.

For children and young people on the Child Protection register there has been a rise in those where concerns over sexual abuse has been recorded. The figures for child sexual exploitation have also risen with this being its first full year of being recorded.

Every looked after child and young person should have a Care Plan. The plans show not just what has been put in place to support those who are looked after but the responsibilities of the local authority, the parents and the children and young people in the delivery of the plan. With 95% of looked after Children and young people having a current care plan either the recording of the plans is not being done efficiently or some councils are failing in their duty to produce one.

Who Cares Scotland works to support looked after  young people and those who have left care. This year marks the charity’s 40th birthday which it is celebrating with its 40 Acts of Love. 

Watch:  Who Cares? Scotland Care Day 2017

In this the Year of Young People it is important for us all to support our children and young people as best we can but particularly those who are the most vulnerable.

Shockingly in a resource rich country Scotland has 32% of its children living in absolute poverty. UK Government changes and cuts to welfare payments are at the heart of this which is a failure of our systems to support the health and welfare of all our citizens.  The Scottish Government will be publishing a Tackling Child Poverty plan and has already taken measures, as afar as it can, to mitigate some of the changes to welfare payments introduced by the UK Government.

Angela Constance, Communities Secretary in the Scottish Government  said:

“Addressing inequalities is core to everything we do to make Scotland fairer and more equal. That includes spending over £100 million every year to protect people from the worst impact of UK Government welfare cuts – money that could be better spent on preventing poverty.

“Our Child Poverty Act recently established Scotland as the only part of the UK with statutory targets to tackle child poverty – and it is now more evident the scale of the challenge we face in meeting our ambitions due to UK Government policies.”

The projected child poverty rates is based on the analysis of the impact of UK Government legislation on tax and welfare payments.

Fostering Relations“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be” (Linda Creed / Michael Masser)

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

Related stories:

Could you be a foster carer?

Celebrating Orkney’s Social Workers

Growing up in Orkney 2018


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